Little is known about Hermann Gradl (the Elder), sculptor, artist and designer. It is certain that he was born in 1869 in Dillingen. But hardly any record of his training exists.
Gradl worked for Nymphenburg from 1899 to 1905. In his first year with the company, Gradl created the extravagant BELLE EPOQUE fish service – consisting of 16 plates, fish platter, sauce boat and potato bowl – which are all decorated with a variety of naturalistic fish motifs. It was premiered in 1900 at the Paris World Exhibition, where it was awarded the "Grand Prix" as one of the most successful examples of floral art nouveau. Hermann Gradl also created various flower designs for the MODERN shape by Max Rossbach. One of these designs – the famous ginkgo motif – also presented in Paris in 1900 – to this day adorns Rossbach's service. And Gradl's BELLE EPOQUE remains part of Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg's permanent repertoire. This fruitful cooperation ceased with Gradl's withdrawal to his estate purchased near the Ammersee in 1905. Hermann Gradl died in Landsberg am Lech in 1934.